Observations of the O(3P) fine structure line at 63 μm in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere

Martin G. Mlynczak, F. Javier Martin-Torres, David G. Johnson, David P. Kratz, Wesley A. Traub, Ken Jucks

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Abstract

Observations of the O(3P) fine structure line at 63 μm originating in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere have been obtained by the far-infrared spectrometer (FIRS-2) instrument, a Fourier transform spectrometer that flies periodically on high-altitude balloons. FIRS-2 primarily observes stratospheric ozone photochemistry using the technique of limb emission spectroscopy. As part of the routine operation of FIRS-2, up-looking views are made, during which the emission from the atomic oxygen is recorded. Using the Mass Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter (MSIS) empirical model to provide temperature and atomic oxygen concentrations, we compute radiances for comparison with the FIRS-2 observations. The computed radiances agree with the FIRS-2 measurements, which encompass 31 observations during nine flights over a span of 14 years, to within 10% on average, with 23 of the 31 observations agreeing to within measurement and calculation uncertainty. The consistency between the observed and computed radiances suggests that the MSIS model provides a reasonably accurate representation of temperature and atomic oxygen in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics
Volume109
Issue numberA12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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Keywords

  • Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Thermosphere-composition and chemistry
  • Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Middle atmosphere-composition and chemistry
  • Atmospheric Composition and Structure: Thermosphere-energy deposition
  • Meteorology and Atmospheric Dynamics: Radiative processes
  • atomic oxygen
  • far-infrared
  • oxygen emissions
  • thermospheric energy balance

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